Right now (June 9, 2023), if you look at Texas's scheduled executions, there is only one name on the list: Jedidiah Issac Murphy. If he dies as planned, he will be 49 years old when he meets his maker on October 10th of this year. That may seem relatively young, but here in Texas, death row stays are short, on average 10 years and people die young, on average aged 39. If anything, he's been lucky- comparatively.

Murphy was 25 when he committed his Capital offense, and it is one that will likely not grant him any sympathy. In October of 2000 in Garland, Texas, Murphy forced a nearly 80-year-old woman to give him a ride at gunpoint. He then forced her to get into her own trunk, shooting her in the process. He drove the car into another county and drowned the woman in a creek. Callously and quite stupidly, he later used her credit cards to buy booze and cigarettes.

The cruelty of that night disturbs me. I cannot help but imagine that woman's pain and fear, and most chilling for me- her helplessness. It breaks my heart.

Texas death chamber in Huntsville
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Does Murphy have any "excuse" for his behavior? Of course not, but he was primarily raised in foster homes. Unfortunately, "many other authors have researched and confirmed the fact that a foster care background is significantly correlated to adult crime and violence." Clearly, more stability and accountability need to happen in the foster care system.

Because he was in foster care, Murphy, who is Jewish, never had a bar mitzvah. He received a belated one while on death row from a visiting rabbi. A small kindness, and I do believe even heinous inmates deserve the chance to make spiritual peace before they die.

Murphy already lost one appeal, so it would probably take a miracle for him to not die this October- the same month but 23 years apart from the murder that put him on death row.

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